Dangerous rumors

Dangerous rumors

There is a rumor circulating in Ankara that concerns the markets very closely. It is being voiced that the removals from bureaucratic posts, a phenomenon we have been experiencing in every field recently, will spread to top executives of the economy’s important institutions. Such a rumor is even able to inflict very serious damage to the markets.

The cleanup operation Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched in the bureaucracy after the Dec. 17, 2013 process against the segment close to the Gülen Community is still ongoing today. It looks as if, after the judiciary and after widespread changes in certain ministries, the turn has come to key institutions of the economy administration, such as the Central Bank, Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) and Capital Markets Board (SPK).

Meanwhile, it is observed that, within the scope of this “cleanup of parallel bureaucrats,” the bureaucrats “who have been brought by the government, but do not do everything the politician says” are also being removed.

It is also observed that following the local elections, Erdoğan is making his “absolute power” felt more over the entire public sector. In other words, the say on bureaucracy regarding their own affairs and activities, which was already minimal, has been totally eliminated. This climate causes speculations that those bureaucrats who are known to do their jobs well, who are not pro-Gülenist and who are not even involved in politics will also be removed.

We have seen the last example of this in the Central Bank. Last week, rumors started that Central Bank Director Erdem Başçı was forced to resign. When we asked banking officials, they said they do not regard such a thing as possible, but they have also heard the rumors of change. Everybody knows the governor cannot be removed before his term ends, but they also leave the door open to the possibility that he may be forced to resign.

For the sake of maintaining stability, it is not expected that the prime minister would do this, but the whisper of “two vice-presidents will be removed because they are from the parallel structure” is quite widespread. The terms of the vice-presidents are also continuing, but it is being said that forced resignations will be an option.

Meanwhile, we can openly observe the intimidation in the bureaucrats who are trying to do their jobs. One bureaucrat said, “The environment is not suitable to do business.” Several top bureaucrats, presidents, undersecretaries are said to have been openly complaining about this climate.

One example of the uneasiness in the bureaucracy was experienced when Süleyman Aslan, who was detained because millions of dollars were found in his house during the Dec. 17 operation, was appointed to the executive board of Ziraat bank. Even though Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and other relevant bureaucrats opposed, Erdoğan made this appointment.

The talk of the week is that several bureaucrats in the Central Bank, BDDK and SPK will be removed; even chairs and deputy chairs will be reassigned.

It is known that the government has acted in a partisan way from the beginning in bureaucracy appointments and prioritized political and religious relations instead of experience and competence.

Despite this, in the case that the few bureaucrats who do their jobs well in the economy administration and who are appreciated by the markets are removed, the economy will suffer.